Review: Home, Merchant City
Home has been a mainstay in the Merchant City for a good few years now, offering an inexpensive pub/dining experience compared to the rest of this expensive part of town. With its eccentric decor, amazingly cheap drinks and plenty of food to sop it up, can it really go wrong?
The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Home is its warehouse-esque layout. It’s a huge beast with a mezzanine level against the back wall and raised DJ booth towards the front. The entire front of the bar is floor to ceiling glass looking out onto Albion Street, so be sure to try and grab one of the couches by the window for some top-notch people watching. Amazingly for such a barn of a place, it feels really pretty cozy, successfully emulating the “living room” feeling which they’re so obviously going for with patterned wallpapers, freestanding lamps and over-sized couches adorning the floor.
The bar’s pretty nice too, running the entire length of the side wall of the bar, and the staff are always friendly, attentive, and service is super-quick. The beer in here is astonishingly cheap, with a pint of Becks Vier running just over 2 quid. Granted, this is a special offer, but the rest of the draft lagers (and there’s a great selection including Budweiser and Staropramen) are very reasonable too, no more than £3.50 a pint. Soft drinks are a pound, and you can get a whole bottle of (half-decent) wine for £6.99. These are prices to topple the, usually unbeatable, Wetherspoons for value, and in a considerably nicer environment.
Food-wise, we’re looking at pretty standard fare here. On my last visit I opted for a bacon and cheese burger, and my companion a barbecue chicken breast, both served with chips. The burger really looked the part but was seriously overcooked and the bun just as dry. It was all fine, but nothing more. The chicken breast, similarly, was dry even when drowned in barbecue sauce. It’s hard to really complain about the food though, as you really feel like a place like this only serves it as a conduit for more alcohol (a task which they succeed in quite superbly). Pretty much all the food is 2 for 1 all the time, and only costs 7 quid in the first place, so you know what to expect.
Home fills the “cheap and cheerful” end of the market in the Merchant City perfectly. If you’re looking for a place to relax with a few beers (with slightly more atmosphere than a Wetherspoons) and are a bit strapped for cash, this is the place for you. The drink selection is better than you would expect from such a place, just don’t expect too much from the food. There are better pubs in the area, but you’ll pay an awful lot more for the pleasure.